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  2. Understand your audience
  3. Research methods
  4. Overview of Research Methods
  5. Observation
  6. Conducting


How to do it?

When conducting observations, the following factors should deserve special attention from the observer (adapted from Merriam, 1988):

  • The setting: What is the physical environment like? What is the context? What kind of behaviour does the setting promote or prevent?
  • The participants: Describe who is in the scene, how many people, and their roles. What brings these people together? Who is allowed to here?
  • Activities and interactions: What is going on? Is there a definable sequence of activities? How do people interact with the activity and with one another?
  • Frequency and duration: When did the situation begin? How long does it last? Is it a recurring type of situation or is it unique? If it recurs, how frequently? How typical of such situations is the behaviour being observed?
  • Subtle aspects:

Informal and unplanned activities.

Symbolic and connotative meanings of words.

Nonverbal communication and physical characteristics.

What does not happen and should or was expected to have happened.



Methods selection decision aid

Take this short quiz to learn what are the best 3 methods to understand your audience and answer your research question(s).